|05 March 2012|
The EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals don't tip off until the 13th of March so until then, clubs still concentrate on their games in their domestic competitions.
|Pops Mensah-Bonsu has contributed nicely with scoring and rebounding for Besiktas Milangaz|
Among them are Besiktas, a club that has created as many headlines any outfit in Europe this season.
The Istanbul outfit, which had Deron Williams on the books long enough for the star guard to pour in 50 points against Gottingen on November 22 (he then returned to the New Jersey Nets after the NBA Lockout), recently won their first Turkish Cup and now they're chasing a league title.
They had five players reach double figures in points at the weekend in a 105-84 demolition of Mersin.
Carlos Arroyo saw limited action last week in the EuroChallenge with a minor injury but played almost 30 minutes against Mersin.
He and Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 18 points apiece while Marcelus Kemp poured in 17, Adam Morrison 14 and Serhat Cetin 13.
With the victory, Besiktas remained top of Beko Basketbol Ligi standings at 15-5.
Galatasaray (16-3), however, are level on 35 points with Besiktas and have a game in hand.
Third-place Banvit and fourth-place Anadolu Efes (both 15-4) have 34 points and a game in hand on Besiktas as well.
Though Ergin Ataman's team finished second in Group K behind Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada and do not have home-court advantage in their best-of-three Quarter-Final tie with Artland Dragons, many will be picking Besiktas to advance to the Final Four.
Artland didn't look like the team that has been so impressive in the EuroChallenge in their game at FC Bayern Munich on Saturday.
Stefan Koch's team led 52-48 at half-time but collapsed in the third quarter when they were outscored 31-9 and ended up falling, 97-70.
Artland scored just 18 points for the entire second half and after, Koch apologized to the fans because he felt his players had "resigned to their fate" of a heavy defeat.
"We saw a first half in which both teams had a good offensive rhythm," Koch said.
"It was clear the team that would win would be the one that could tighten the (defensive) screws after the break."
Fuenlabrada, who face BC Triumph Lyubertsy in the EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals, dug an early hole against Joventut in Spain on Saturday and never climbed out of it.
Porfi Fisac's team suffered a 72-55 defeat.
Lubos Barton, who began the season with Fuenlabrada, now plays for Joventut and he had eight points.
Kirk Penney remained cold from long range for Fuenlabrada, making just one of his five attempts.
The New Zealander is just eight for his last 30 (26.7%) from behind the arc in the Liga Endesa.
Fuenlabrada will know that this is not a good time to be facing Triumph, who beat Turkish Airlines Euroleague outfit UNICS Kazan for the second time this season.
Kyle Landry led the way with 17 points as Triumph prevailed in Kazan, 76-73.
Asked for the reason to UNICS' struggles, coach Evgeny Pashutin answered: "Internal issues that we do not want to make known to the public."
Triumph's acting head coach, Vasily Karasev, said: "The team won due to its attitude and desire.
"Many things did not work, to a greater extent on offense, but most importantly - there was defense and the desire to win."
Elan Chalon and Roanne Basket will meet in an all-French EuroChallenge Quarter-Final.
Chalon followed their 84-64 defeat at Okapi Aalstar with an 84-77 victory over Dijon.
Roanne, coming off a 94-92 defeat in overtime at BK Ventspils, lost 71-67 at Poitiers.
Luka Pavicevic is working hard to improve Roanne's results.
"There are two statistics to be considered," he said after the loss at Poitiers, "the offensive rebounding of Poitiers, and second chances that led to 14 points, and too many free throws we missed. This allows to summarize this game easily."
Poitiers had 10 offensive rebounds to just three for Roanne, and Pavicevic's side was a woeful 12 of 25 (48%) at the free-throw line.
The other EuroChallenge Quarter-Final sees BK Ventspils with home-court advantage against Szolnoki Olaj, a team that had to come from behind against Tampereen Pyrintö in the Qualifying Round just to make it into the Regular Season.
Szolnoki punched their ticket to the last eight with a 96-94 victory over Telekom Baskets Bonn last week and followed that by winning at home in Hungary's top flight over Falco-SZOVA KC, 79-74.
Julien Mills had 15 points and Obie Trotter 14 for the winners.
Peter Por, the Szolnoki coach, said: "The guys produced very high level performances this week."
Ventspils won at Valmiera, 83-82.